British Empire Guns – Enfield Martini

by Jim Green, Gunsmith on November 3, 2010

Recently I posted about a Gahendra Martini rifle, made in Nepal in the late 1880′s.  Yesterday I had a ” companion gun ” come in from a different customer. An actual Enfield built Martini rifle in .577 / .450 that’s in pristine condition. It just needed a good cleaning, and of course a test firing too ! HAHAHA

These guns were made famous by the British in Natal Provence of Africa at the Battle of Rorke’s Drift. About 100 of Her Majesty’s finest held off nearly 4,000 native tribesmen with these guns. A pretty good movie was made about the event in the 1960′s…. Zulu is a flick I recommend you watch when you get a chance.

This particular gun is of the long lever pattern. The reason for this modification was because of the difficulty of opening the breech after repeated firing and the subsequent powder fouling. V/R. is for Victoria Rex I do believe. The gun still has the original ” Slade Wallace ” white buff leather sling in great shape.

Here’s the gun with original bayonet. A good yard of steel to keep your enemies at bay. With the bayonet attached the gun is about a good 6 feet long !  The pattent is from Westley – Richards, but the American Peabody action predates this…..  I’m not into argueing who invented what and when, BUT the Peabody rifles look danged near like the Enfield Martini.

The lever is down to open the breech.

The bayonet makes a Heck of an impression. This one happens to be matched to the gun in serial number too. That’s pretty rare.

( A side note — before you comment on my choice of outer wear, please note that in the case of my sweatshirt, PETA for me stands for People Eating Tasty Animals ! HAHAHAH )

There’s even a chamber adapter allowing the American .45 Colt cartridge to be safely fired in this gun. I shot a few rounds in it myself. Instead of a smokey roar of the black powder cartridge, I got a hollow sounding BLOOP. It was still awesome to get a chance to fire this old gun. Now I have an urge to go home and have some tea and a few scones. Or is that crumpets ? Heck I don’t know what they call those little biscuits anyways. It’s been years since I had any.

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1858 Remington August 23, 2011 at 5:04 AM

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